American dream runs out of steam
Rustenburg: The American dream ran out of steam on Saturday as Bob Bradley’s team exited the World Cup with a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Ghana.
The US’s strengths throughout this tournament have been their work-rate, self-belief and determined spirit but those proved not to be enough against the African team who also knocked them out of the tournament four years ago.
Once again, a US side which twice gave up early goals in the group stage, conceded before they had even got into their stride and yet again they came back after Bradley astutely changed things around at the break.
A Landon Donovan penalty brought the Americans on to equal terms but this time it was their opponents who found the extra something to come back from a setback - Asamoah Gyan’s superb strike in extra-time giving Africa just their third ever quarter-finalists.
The Americans, who fought back for draws against England and Slovenia, couldn’t make it back one more time.
Their legs looked tired, their play was imprecise and somehow that fighting spirit that pushed them to a last minute win over Algeria just was not quite enough.
The weaknesses of Bradley’s side though go beyond conceding early goals and the draining effect of playing three days after the gruelling and emotional victory over Algeria.
The U.S midfield, with two defensive central operators and two attack-minded wide players in Clint Dempsey and Donovan, was over-run at times by the numerically stronger Ghanaian midfield.
That uneven battle was not helped by Ricardo Clark’s wayward performance, his yellow card and the subsequent need for Bradley to replace him, with Maurice Edu, in just the 31st minute.
The U.S coach addressed the problem by bringing in Benny Feilhaber to give him three genuine midfielders in the second half with Clint Dempsey moving into a full attacking role.
The floating Donovan is the main creative spark in the U.S team and in fact, with him not finding his touch, it highlighted just how much the Americans rely on him for that little bit of something out of the ordinary.
When Donovan doesn’t deliver the U.S are far too predictable going forward -- needing a sharp turn from Clint Dempsey or a burst of pace from Jozy Altidore -- neither of which were frequent features at the Royal Bafokeng stadium.
The full-backs, Jonathan Bornstein or Steve Cherundolo, were solid defensively but didn’t offer much of a threat from wide positions -- both found space on several occasions but were unable to deliver dangerous crosses or get to the byline.
Up-front, for all their efforts, the American strikers didn’t have the sharpness or the clinical finishing displayed by Ghana scorers Kevin-Prince Boateng and Gyan.
For the U.S to move from a decent qualifier from the group stages to a team that can really threaten to make the latter stages they need to address those limitations.
A midfield playmaker, a genuine winger and an international class striker would transform them from a solid, workmanlike team into something that their fans could get really excited about.
They have four years to find those players.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced on May 28
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark